These are albums I'm listening to a lot this year and not albums that were released this year. I'm sure it's weighted more towards what I've recently purchased too.
Drive-By Truckers - American Band
Jason Isbell - Something More Than Free
Various Artists - This Is Fame 1964 - 1968 (These first 3 are heavy Muscle Shoals, eh?)
Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream
Tom Waits - Heart Attack and Vine, Frank's Wild Years
Prince - lots and lots of Prince boots
David Bowie - Black Star
Piero Umiliani: La Legge dei Gangsters
Various Artists: Wake Up You! vol. 1 The Rise and Fall of Nigerian Rock 1972 - 1977
Savages - Adore Life
I'll leave it at that. I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
Morris from America
10 Cloverfield Lane
Also sure I'm missing something
Um, going to see the Seattle Sounders beat Toronto FC in Toronto for the MLS Cup!!!
Camminante, Vinicio Capossela, Camera A Sud
My Rush, #1 Dads, About Face
Ruby, Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté, Ali & Toumani
Horchata, Vampire Weekend, Contra
Should Have Known Better, Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell
Gelato Al Limon [Live], Paolo Conte, Concerti
Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles, Abbey Road
Waiting On A Friend, The Rolling Stones, Tattoo You
I Loves You Porgy (Live), Nina Simone, Miss Simone: The Hits
Maggie May, Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells a Story
Dread Are the Controller, Linval Thompson, Jonny Greenwood is the Controller
The Only Living Boy In New York, Everything But The Girl, Home Movies
Bill Ryder Jones was definitely my pick of the year. The musical driver behind The Coral,
he released an incredible classical album 'If' in 2011. This year it was more pared back sound with intimate
and personal lyrics - recorded in the house he grew up in with all the baggage that entails.
Bill Ryder Jones - West Kirby County Primary
PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project
Parquet Courts - Human Performance
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate
Christine & the Queens - Chaleur Humaine
Minor Victories - Minor Victories
David Bowie - Blackstar
Julia Jacklin - Don’t Let the Kids Win
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree
Underworld - Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future
Kendric Lamar - untitled unmastered
Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression
Mudcrutch - 2
Bon Iver - 22, A Million
Best Nostalgia for the year that's in it...
Bowie - Heros, Aladdin Sane
Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Room, The Songs of Leonard Cohen
Best Cover Version
Sturgill Simpson's country version of Nirvana's In Bloom.
Most Memorable Gig
Got a call one Wednesday with an offer of two free tickets to Bryan Ferry – 30 minutes before the gig.
Couldn’t get anyone, so in an unusual, hectic sequence of events ended up meeting a girl
(never met her before but she knows both my wife and my sister) outside the Olympia just as the gig started.
Missed the first 10 minutes – walked in at the start of Both Ends Burning –
polite smalltalk between songs – delighted to be there but just felt something a little bit out of place.
Incredible show (plenty of classics – my highlight was If There Was Something).
Shows over, dropped my new friend home and drove home feeling like I was just after an awkward teenage date……..
29 years since I last saw him in the RDS – incredible songs, musicians and show.
Worst 4 mile run
Miles 22 to 26 in the marathon. Completely tied up on Roebuck Road, struggled home very slowly, with
people shouting 'You're nearly there' even though we both knew I wasn't!!!!
Best 1 mile run
Last mile in the marathon. Target time gone, extra minute or two wasn't going to matter, decided to enjoy
every moment of it. Massive crowd - amazing atmosphere!
The end of year compilation was a great tradition and trying to reconnect to it this year. Nothing feels quite as good as getting a compilation CD in the post, however here's the next best thing....
Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future - Underworld
We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service - A Tribe Called Quest
Blackstar - David Bowie
Been lucky enough to see some amazing gigs and festivals this year, including an incredibly energetic performance from Iggy Pop at the Royal Albert Hall, a mind-blowing run through of her new album by Kate Tempest, finally getting to see some acts live that didn’t disappoint, Father John Misty, Ezra Furman & The Coral, plus some amazing festival turns by Tame Impala and John Grant. We also saw one of the first bands we saw together, Augustines, 3 times (including what turned out to be their last ever gig after being forced to split for financial reasons), plus a powerful solo performance from lead singer Billy McCarthy in a tiny Edinburgh venue and getting to share a fair few pints with the man afterwards.
Billy McCarthy (Augustines) - Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Iggy Pop, Josh Homme, Dean Fertita, Matt Helders - Royal Albert Hall, London
Kate Tempest - 02 Institute, Birmingham
Augustines (Last ever gig) - 02 Academy, Liverpool
Father John Misty - Rock City, Nottingham
Tame Impala - Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury Festival
John Grant - John Peel Stage, Glastonbury Festival
She Drew The Gun - The Rabbit Hole, Glastonbury Festival
Kate Tempest (spoken word) - Rum Shack, Glastonbury Festival
Songhoy Blues - Moseley Folk Festival
The Coral - 02 Institute, Birmingham
Spring King - Rescue Rooms, Dot To Dot Festival Nottingham
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Park Stage, Glastonbury Festival
Ezra Furman - Park Stage, Glastonbury Festival
Steve Mason - The Glee Club, Birmingham
Augustines - Rock City, Dot To Dot Festival Nottingham
a tribe called quest – we got it from here
laura marling – short movie
anderson paak - malibu
wolfgang muthspiel – rising grace
wayne shorter quartet – without a net
a cosmic rhythm with each stroke - vijay iyer & wadada leo smith
grazyna bacewicz - complete string quartets, silesian quartet
caribou – charles wright
I absolutely loved putting my list together and reflecting on the year. Unfortunately my amp blew last Christmas and it's been a difficult one to get fixed - I hope to be back able to play Vinyl soon.
This year I taught programming in Java in the local IT up until the summer, completing 2 years of teaching at night. I loved the buzz, unfortunately they were no numbers to run any IT courses this year.
The other buzz of the year was dong events with friends, this is the way forward.
I got a gift of a cocktail maker set and a book for my 40th and shame on me, I never christened the maker until this year!
The only one on the list I did not make myself, served up my Martin on an amazing night in Martin & Nessa's in London this summer.
My creation: White Rum, Conitreau, OJ, Galiano. Made a few nights after the Perfect John I grabbed the bottles to make it again and they it was only later I noticed I had used white rum instead of vodka. Punters loved it.
You cannot go wrong!
Vodka, Conitreau, OJ, Galiano
My Creation: 'Victorian lemonade' with gin and sparkling water
One of my EP cocktails, Don Draper's fav.
The Vesper Martini
The original James Bond martini, strong, made with 3 shots.
Restaurant meal of the year
Farmers Arms in the village of Llanfihangel y Creuddyn near Aberystwyth, Wales.
Trip advisor find, mind boggling meal, drop in if you are in area, read my review
My sister Sue told me about this beauty, rather than taking a regular photo of the recipe in the newspaper or whatever, use this app, you can trim the scan quickly and all saved to the cloud. I use it to take snippets from screen grabs too, just share the grab with CanmScanner and job done quickly.
Sunrise was a brilliant app for accessing all your google calendars. It was bought by Microsoft who incorporated it into their Outlook app. At the time of the 2016 Top 10 I recommended the Outlook app but I have since had lots of problems with it and have now uninstalled it. I am currently using Boxer and will report in the next top 10 on my experience.
Get rid of all those store cards from your wallet or sign up for them because you don't need to carry them any more, just use this app and the shop can scan them from the phone. Presets are American but you just use 'Add a card not in this list'.
1. The K Fellowship – Live – Mesmerising – not quite as good as being there of course! But a real reminder of the power of Kate.
2. Robyn Hitchcock – Liverpool – Yet another intimate Hitchcock gig in the beautiful surroundings of the Liverpool Philharmonic Concert Hall. And after the gig I got to meet the young man himself.
3. PJ Harvey – Brixton Academy – Stunning and intense. This was the day after the marathon so I could hardly stand but for over 2 hours I was mesmerised and pain free as a set heavy on the most recent albums was delivered with precision, passion and with barely a word spoken in between.
4. ABC – Olympia – In fine form; I’d say as good as they every were and I was practically the youngest person there!
5. Athlone ‘Flatline’ half marathon – Great to see Tom and family and get a bit of a run in at the same time. Pity it’s gone for 2017.
6. Dublin Marathon 2017 – I had been vaguely training for this and then heard that it was sold out. An anxious few weeks before I secured a lottery ticket and then it was full on training, 60+ miles a week, so on the day I was in good shape to run a PB!
7. Cyprus Avenue – Stephen Rea / Peacock – Very dark comedy with the superb Stephen Rea!
8. The Stone Roses – Marley Park – Although I don’t really get the ‘communal vibe’ of the larger gig, this was superb – what a band.
9. Pixies – Iveagh Gardens – Doesn’t really suit them the bigger outdoor venue, but they’re still one of the most kick-ass bands around.
10. Bryan Ferry – Olympia – Much better from the man; he’s been a bit variable in the past, part down to his willingness to play in unsuitable venues or to let the band do most of the leg-work, but a solid performance this time out.
11. Books – I read for 30 mins every day regardless of how tired I am or what I’m otherwise doing. These are the best but I’d also include anything I’ve read by Robert Harris
a. Terry Pratchett – Shepherds Crown – The last (so far) from the great man – written with a view to his own impending meeting with DEATH so very poignant
b. Elvis Costello – Unfaithful Music – A bit academic but superb – a good long read!
c. Ben Horowitz - The Hard Thing About Hard Things – very topical for me; right on point and really super insights about trying to start a business.
d. Mikkel Svane – Startupland – Interesting story about the birth of Zendesk – told with dry Swedish humor – actually maybe they weren’t meant to be jokes!
e. Noam Wasserman - The Founders Dilemma – I’ve spent a lot of this year thinking about startup teams and this book’s been a bit of a bible…mind you all roads seem to lead to disaster!!
1. Leonard Cohen - You want it darker
2. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Skeleton tree
3. The Divine Comedy - Foreverland
4. Shura - Nothing's real
5. The I Don't Cares - Wild stab
6. Lydia Loveless - Real
7. The Hotelier - Goodness
8. Frankie Cosmos - Next thing
9. Angel Olsen - My Woman
10. The Wedding Present - Going, Going...
Honorable Mentions It was such a momentous year. So many heroes 'leaving the table'; (Definitely something in that old trope about music having to raise its game when the Politics goes to shit; 2016 can readily take its place beside 1968,1983,2008 etc. etc. ) - where to put Prince in any of these categories for example? The following (plus at least a dozen others) would have been shoe-ins most times :-
David Bowie - Blackstar
Katie Tempest - Let them eat chaos
Lapsley - Long way home
Bob Dylan - Take your pick (Bizarre for the year that was in it - probably listened to the old coot less than ever before notwithstanding the Nobel bauble)
Radiohead - A moon shaped pool
The James Hunter Six - Hold on!
Amber Arcades - Fading lines
Miranda Lambert - The weight of these wings
1. Father John Misty - Real love baby
2. The I Don't Cares - Back
3. The 1975 - The sound
4. Lydia Loveless - European
5. Anderson .Paak - Come down
6. Cymbals Eat Guitars - 4th of July, Philadelphia (Sandy)
7. Hater - Plain clothes darling
8. Viola Beach - Boys that sing
9. Warpaint - New Song
10. Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Dark Necessities
1. Robbie Fulks - Needed
2. Angel Olsen - Sister
3. Owen - Lost
4. Shura - Touch
5. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam - 1000 Times
6. Miranda Lambert - Vice
7. She Drew The Gun - I am not alone
8. The Wedding Present - Santa Monica
9. Margo Price - Hands of time
10. Brandy Clark & Dwight Yoakam - Hold my hand
- Still not getting to nearly enough gigs - I know - what's the Spotify analogy for cracked vinyl? Loved The Wedding Present and Pinegrove (both in Dolans) and also Grant Lee Philips in Whelans.
- UL Vs. UCD Collingwood Final February 2016. Quite simply in the 40 odd years I've frittered away on this silly game I've never come closer to this
feeling when they got their winner in the 91st minute. A game that had it all. Biblical conditions. Ahead in the game and about to finally fucking do it. Not getting a deserved second early doors. Crucial injuries. Bastard UCD. Escaping the desolation of the dressing room to find my own young fella, on his own in the Mardyke stand, crying. What am I doing to him? Wouldn't swap the pain though....
- UL Vs. DCU League Final March 2016. Our Ladies defeated my other alma mater 6-4 after extra time in a pulsating game that could have ended up any score at the finish. A wonderful advertisement for the Women's game that has to put up with so much sexist bullshit and general condescension from the powers that be. This was a proper game, full stop.
- AZ Alkmaar Vs. Dundalk. I'm sorry but Dundalk? A result away from home in the Europa league? Against a side with the wherewithal to reject Spurs' 'derisory' first offer for Vincent Janssen. Of €16 million. (He went for 20 plus add-ons in the end). Never mind Leicester - this IS a fairy story.
- Limerick Vs. St. Pats, League cup final September 2016. A packed Market's Field with a real buzz about the town during the lead-in. And then such a buzz-kill the way we subsided in the second half. Who knows what 2017 holds for them - some of the rumours doing the rounds wouldn't fill you with confidence and it's such a Limerick cliche as well; forever eating our own young...
- Ireland - Italy in the Euros. And you can spare me that shite about it being an Italian B Team.... When Brady stuck that header away - (how brave was that BTW with the Keeper charging out to take his head off?) sure the place erupted.......
- Native River's Hennessy victory, November 2016; A real rollercoaster this one. I'd lost my uncle Paddy earlier that week and I had told anyone who'd listen beforehand about how he'd have gone balls deep on this fella. Jesus - I even put it up on Facebook; what was I thinking? After repelling all significant opposition one by one we then only nearly went and got chinned on the line by some mutt that shouldn't have been able to lace our boots and had never even entered calculations. I've never roared one home so much...The winner was good enough to win about three different races in the one race though and if there's soft or worse in the going description for the Gold cup next March I'll be having at least a saver on him....
- Sprinter Sacre regaining his Champion Chase crown at Cheltenham this year. These old chasers never come back or so we were told. I didn't have a penny on the race but I roared him home (nearly) as loudly as the aforementioned Native River...
-Almanzor's Champion stakes win at Leopardstown - September 2016. I doubt whether there has ever been a race with more strength in depth ran in Ireland. I was able to Dutch the field (i.e., guarantee a profit in advance - in my own head anyhow!) by backing the winner (European horse of the year BTW) at 15/2 and Highland Reel (King George and subsequent Breeders cup winner) at 9/1!!! A lovely early Autumnal evening as well so it was a great opportunity to get suited, booted and to throw a few shapes once again ;-)
Westworld was a cut above everything else this year IMO
Orange is the new black
(and when is Amazon Prime going to get its shit together so I can stream Mr Robot and Preacher without all that tedious mucking about with VPN or torrenting??)
Ok - so you know what I said about not attending enough gigs....... For the year that was in it however, I did really enjoy both Matthew Thomas' 'We are not ourselves' and also Anthony Doerr's 'All the light we cannot see'.
I'll give Jason Bourne a mention as well if it's possible for a movie to be at once both a crushing disappointment and also a diverting couple of hours.....
Honourable mentions to Overhead The Albatros, The Goon Sax, Camp Cope, Okkervil River, The Hotelier & Bon Iver.
Top 10 Electro Albums (in no particular order)
DJ-Kicks - Moodymann
Eluvium - False Readings On
The Avalanches - Wildflower
Steve Hauschildt - Strands
Ital Tek - Hollowed
Plaid - The Digging Remedy
The Range - Potential
worriedaboutsatan - Even Temper
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS
Leon Vynehall - Rojus (Designed To Dance)
Honourable mentions to MMOTHS, Ian William Craig, Hammock, Moderat, The Field & Factory Floor.
Top 10 Gigs (in no particular order)
Teenage Fanclub @ Academy
Porches @ Whelans
The Unthanks @ Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire
Suede @ the Olympia
Girl Band @ Vicar St.
Low @ Christchurch
Belle & Sebastian @ RAH
The Cure @ Wembley Arena
Sia @ Amway Orlando
Overhead, The Albatross @ Vicar St.
Honourable mentions to EITS, Aidan Knight, Afghan Whigs, Lloyd Cole, Richmond Fontaine & The Wedding Present
I really love this reimagining of Hans Zimmer's Time by Overhead, The Albatross. It suits Chaplin even better than the original I think.
Girl Band at Vicar St. The anticipation and then the power. Seismic!
In the space of a week I saw The Wedding Present, Teenage Fanclub and The Cure. It was almost like the previous 25 years hadn't happened! The Weddoes & TFC are both still
making good music after all these years. The Cure was definitely nostaliga, but as 1989 was the last time I saw them, I just couldn't resist. All 3 were great gigs.
Sia in concert was a new type of live experience for me. Amazing live vocals to backing tracks, with interpretative dance sycned to video clips. She pulled it off wonderfully.
This is a Spotify playlist containing a few tunes that hooked me in during 2016.
Best wishes to all for 2017, and I look forward to reading the lists!
This year's activities were curtailed slightly by the arrival of kid 2 in May, but we're starting to find our feet now. Having said that being stuck at home more just meant more box sets and more music. I set myself the task to listen fully to every album listed by this group in their top 10 lists from last year (159 albums for those who are interested!). So that kept me busy for a lot of the year and introduced me to music I wouldn't have listened to otherwise so thank you all for that!
Theatre was rubbish this year, the poorest I have seen in a long time. But there are always enough good gigs going on! Happy New Year everyone, I can't wait to see the lists.
Girl Band @ Vicar Street
GoGo Penguin @ The Sugar Club
Sleaford Mods @ Vicar Street
Grant Lee Phillips @ Whelan's
Henry Rollins @ Vicar Street
Rusangano Family @ The Spiegeltent
Kate Tempest @ Whelan's
Lisa Hannigan @ The Westbury Hotel
Clinging to the barrier for a brilliant Girl Band gig in Vicar Street. So good. Already looking forward to their gig there in February for Pieta House. GoGo Penguin played to a packed Sugar Club and were stunning, one of the best drummers I have ever seen and the trio were so tight. Great to catch Sleaford Mods, Kate Tempest and Rusangano Family for the first time this year. Grant Lee Phillips made me revisit some of his albums for the first time in a long while.
A Moon Shaped Pool - Radiohead
The Gamble - Nonkeen
Oddments from the Gamble - Nonkeen
Teens of Denial - Car Seat Headrest
Cheetah - Aphex Twin
Radiohead lead out this year's albums. Not a perfect album by any means but with some brilliant moments. My discovery for the year was the Nonkeen Gamble album. Nils Frahm weaves amazing music out of some scratchy recordings him and some childhood friends made years ago.
This year was mainly about catching up on series (Cosmos, Agents of Shield, Sonic Highways (Steve Albini is such a legend!), Band of Brothers, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, True Detective, The Night Of, Broadchurch). Notable films were a brilliant Danish film called "The Commune" about a group of middle-aged people starting a commune, Werner Herzog's "Lo and Behold" and a touching documentary called "We Could Be King" about two rival schools forced to amalgamate due to funding cuts and how their football team does
The Maumturks Challenge
Eight years after failing to complete the Maumturks challenge we returned to see it through this time. A beautiful day on the hills, a tough hike but a lot of fun.
I was never much of a Bowie or Prince fan, but Leonard was a different story... what a gift this album is to leave to us
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Skeleton Tree
This is quite hard to listen to, but, wow, it is beautiful.
Bon Iver- 22, A Million
Any other year this would have been top of my list, really surprising and inventive
The Gloaming- 2
More of the same from the Gloaming, what the do with The Rolling Wave is exceptional
Deerhoof- The Magic
Much more accessible album from Deerhoof, they have some very catchy tunes here
An album that's appropriately depressing and angry for the year that's been
Christine and the Queens- Chaleur Humaine
I like the song with Perfume Genius especially
The Avalanches- Wildflower
Repays repeat listens... always cheers me up
Mark Kozelek- Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites
Terrifc collection of covers from from Mark Kozelek; I love the version of Float On
Maalem Mahmoud Guinia- Marhaba
West african traditional music with beats from Floating Points and James Holden; works really well
Kanye West- The Life of Pablo
Regina Spektor- Remember Us To Life
Tindersticks- The Waiting Room
PJ Harvey- The Hope Six Demolition Project
Radiohead- A Moon Shaped Pool
Brendan's Top TV 2016
Orange Is The New Black [Netflix]
Season 4 was really great, especially the last few episodes which were devastating. Vicious in its criticism of the US penal system.
The Get Down [Netflix]
Baz Luhrmann's utterly wild take on the birth of hip hop in 70s NY... a complete joy to watch
Better Call Saul [Netflix]
Savoured every moment of this... especially since they released only one episode a week
Stranger Things [Netflix]
This was really gripping, and of course the 80s nostalgia helped
The Crown [Netflix]
I was apprehensive about this at first, but it's really worth it... superb writing, acting and production.
Black Mirror [Netflix]
Very very clever, very very scary... certainly makes you think about where technology is taking us
Happy Valley [BBC]
We've only watched the first season so far... stunning gritty drama from the BBC
Peaky Blinders [BBC/Netflix]
Planet Earth II [BBC]
Can't Cope, Won't Cope [RTE]
I was at a conference in Washington DC earlier month and I skipped a morning to see some sights. I wandered into the Hirshhorn Museum, which is showing an exhibition by Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson. I was really enjoying it, but nothing prepared me for the experience in the last room, which housed his "The Visitors" installation. I spent about a hour completely mesmerised by it... please do get to see it if you get a chance. It's a video installation with nine screens, showing nine musicians playing a (beautiful) hour long piece simultaneously, but in separate rooms. Being able to walk between the screens to "mix" the music oneself was completely entrancing; it really made me feel like I was present at the performance in a way that video normally doesn't. This Youtube video gives you an idea of what it's like; there's a nice interview with Kjartansson about it here. Get to see it if you can!
My Top Tens of 2016:
Music (Albums) in no particular order:
Mystery Jets – Curve of the Earth: Caught my attention at the beginning of 2016 and was played over and over whilst stuck at work for most of January through to April.
David Bowie – Black Star: Loved the title track used on The Last Panthers and the rest of the album is superb – such sad news to start the year though
Jagwar Ma – Every Now & Then: Very nineties sounding ‘danceable psychedelic rock’ and a good follow up to Howlin’
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity: Love this band – they’re the best at ‘out there’ music, with great lyrics and playing.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree: Not the album to put on before you head out for a night out for sure, but stunning in its simplicity and pain.
Avalanches – Wildflower: It was like they hadn’t been missing for 15+ years!!! This is the album to put of before you head out!
Justice – Woman: A bit lighter than their previous rockier stuff but still good French electro-rock to jump around to.
The Divine Comedy – Foreverland: A return to form (in my opinion) by Neil Hannon, still possibly my favourite lyricist.
Dinasour Jr – Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not: Another fine fine return to form, this sounds like it was recorded in 1992 – splendid stuff!
Angel Olsen – My Woman: A very good album by someone I hadn’t heard much of before.
Divine Comedy – Birmingham Town Hall: Our only gig this year and worked out well for a trip to Brum to see friends and family. Hannon still has it and put on a fine show that lasted well over 2hrs and covered a lot of old ground as well as new.
Sean Walsh (Ivybridge Watermark): Our local library still manages to get established comedians in (and for £14 a ticket too!!!). This was the first of three comedians in a week (we hardly get out due to those pesky kids! So that week was a bit of a treat!)
Romesh Ranganathan (Plymouth Pavilions): A much bigger venue than the library but near the front it’s still pretty intimate. Would recommend watching his Asian Provocateur series in Sri Lanka and America.
Marcus Brigstocke (Ivybridge Watermark): The finale to our week of comedy and it didn’t disappoint (even if it did end up with Brigstocke without his pants handing out a cheese board to Purple Rain.....)
Films (again in no particular order except for No.1)
Eye In The Sky – a quality intense 100 minutes surrounding a drone strike. Edge of the seat and though provoking too.
The Nice Guys – written by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang etc) a very witty buddy-cop movie with great turns by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe
The Hateful Eight – Another great Tarantino (practically) one-room set drama with great over the top characters and dialogue
The Revenant – Just for the bear scene!!!!!
Bone Tomahawk – a low budget cannibal western with Kurt Russell sporting a fine ‘tache! What’s there not to like!!
Room – Superb, the tale of a woman raising her son whilst being held captive in a garden shed with the child oblivious to world outside.
Spotlight – A quite hard hitting journalism film about exposing the Catholic Churches covering up of abuse in Boston.
The Big Short – Brilliant film about different sets of brokers betting on the US mortgage system collapsing. Strangely very funny and well explained throughout.
Dope – A very kooky film surrounding the events of a studious lad who mistakenly lands himself in the middle of a drug deal.
John Wick – okay, this was a while ago but only saw it this year. Besides, who doesn’t want to see Keanu Reeves bust shit up!
So that was my year in entertainment (although seeing the inside of an Italian prison was pretty entertaining too!)
My favourite album of the year, I read the review in the Irish times (5*) and had to listen. There's so much going on with this album, jazz, hiphop, soul, dance, 80s electronica, poetry and there's also the "protest album" angle, giving a voice to the marginalised. I love the sounds of the street and the lofi recording feel to it, it all feels natural and from the heart, nothing contrived. It's hard to imagine that Lightspeed Champion turned into this, an amazing progression.
My Women - Angel Olsen
Angel Olsen doesn't have a voice of an angel, but it's the main reason why I love her, part 1930s country singer, part 1950s rockabilly singer and modern day indie screecher, she covers it all. This is another brilliant album from her, not a dud tune and some powerful lyrics about being a women in this messed up world.
The Hope Six Demolition Project - Pj Harvey
Another protest album to follow the brilliant let England Shake (would you believe the Richard Corrigan is a fan and got This Glorious Land played on Miriam O'Callaghan's Sunday show, change my opinion of him). The album picks up it's sound from the last one and that's not a bad thing. The militaristic drums are still there, the stomping sounds and horns. It's like a musical documentary about the state of the world, like those features you see on Newsnight about the messed up things that are going on in the world, drug addicts in big cities, drowning immigrants on the Mediterranean. Don't expect to be uplifted but do expect to be educated.
Let them Eat Chaos - Kate Tempest
While PJ takes on the big issues that are affecting the world Kate Tempest writes shorts stories about 7 different people living in London and where their life is at a particular moment. Reminiscent of early Streets music, great beats and soundtrack with an excellent statement on the issues faced in life today.
2 - The Gloaming
Released all the way back in February, but I've gone back to this album many times since then. Picking up from the first album, the super group create a distinctive sound adding a touch of classical to very authentic Irish traditional that overcomes my cynicism for the traditional form. Gorgeous singing, virtuoso fiddle playing, beautiful piano, this is Irish music reimagined, judging by the 5 nights sold out run in NCH in March it's something the people approve off.
Will - Julianna Barwick
This is a little like Sigor Ros, a bit quieter but brings you to that same place, hypnotic classical sounds with vocals I can’t decipher a bit like The Cocteau Twins, but it’s not necessary to know what the songs are about to enjoy them.
Hopelessness - ANOHNI
The artist formerly known as Anthony and the Johnsons has transitioned to a woman and this is her first solo album. There is also a musical transition, gone are the orchestras replaced by a big electronic sound, a bit like the big beats electronic sound that you would associate with Bjork, and it's absolutely brilliant. It's also another protest album, it seems to be the year the protest album is reborn, says something about the changing world we are in. Big topics of global warming, drone bombing, execution. The music and singing don't suffer under the weight of such heavy topics, Her voice is absolutely mesmeric (apart from Obama), I could listen to her all day, so much music and melody in the voice it's like another instrument.
The Waiting Room - Tindersticks
That trademark Tindersticks sound is still there tweeked slightly, plenty of the lush orchestration of the latter years and rasping electric guitars of the early years. They've added a bit of jazz and african influence, perhaps down to the melting pot of music that France is, now home of Stuart staples. Some gorgeous instrumentals too showing their skill as movie score writers. it gives me a warm feeling hearing Stuart sing of misery and pain, I don't know why, but it's comforting.
Skeleton Tree - Nick Cave
Nick Cave seems to have an ability to create some amazing images with his music and foreboding voice, I love the talking/singing approach he uses on this album. The music is sparse, melodic but it's Nicks voice and words to the forefront and it is really beautiful and sad and prophetic.
Wildflower - Avalanches
It took 16 years for the Avalanches to come up with a follow up to their brilliant debut Since I Left You (I just checked Tom's archive I had it at Number 5 for 2001, Tindersticks also in there with Can Our Love and Mercury Rev, and Nick Cave, some synergy there!) They've been listening to a lot music over that time resulting in tons and tons of great samples which they somehow craft into their own tunes, it's an amazing achievement. Johnathan Donahue makes and appearance on a few tunes and brings that distinctive Mercury Rev sound to them.
Black America Again - Common
Common did an amazing performance on the tiny desk concert series int he Whitehouse, seriously powerful. This is another protest album with some truly brilliant songs on it, particularly Letter to the Free which was the closing song to the excellent documentary about the 13th amendment of the constitution of america, something I knew nothing about but something that is terribly sad and shocking.
22, A million - Bon Iver
Brilliantly experimental is all aspects, how the songs are constructed, the instruments used, the vocals, even the song titles are all mashed up, it's like everything going on in the musical world has been put through the blender, and the great melodies are still there, with lots on different influences hanging off.
Let the Dead Bury the Dead - Rusnago Family
These guys were a revelation for me. I’ve never really believed in Irish Hip Hop, it was probably the mixtape and temperamental miscellaneous that put me off, but it all changed with these guys, seeing them live is a must, check them out on Other Voices, their energy is infectious and their stories about the lives of immigrants are brilliant.
Until the Hunter -Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions
It's 7 years since Hope Sandoval last released an album I’m glad she hasn’t given up on the music. Amazing that the drummer from My Bloody Valentine is part of her band, but it's more conventional Sandoval sounds you will hear on the album with a bit of tweeking.
Bell X 1
Lot's a catchy hooks on the latest offering from the local lads, plenty of electronics beats and great melodies and nicely crafted words too.
Pearls to Swine - Adam Torres
Spotted this guy on the tiny desk concert from NPR reminded me of DM Stith, had a listen to the album and it is excellent, low fi country americana, right up my street Spotted this guy on the tiny desk concenrt from NPR reminded me of DM Stith, had a listen to the album and it is excellent, low fi country americana, right up my street
Each Other - Aiden Knight
Thanks to Richie for the heads up on this Canadian singer songwriter, reminded me a lot of Jeff Buckley, even his on stage persona was similar, plenty of banter with the crowd, some great tunes.
Pigeonheart - Dm Stith
Lots of gorgeous and unusual sounds and DM Stiths unique voice, a lot like Sufjan in his quiet moments, takes a few listens to get into the sounds and unconventional song formats.
Sirens - Nicolas Jaar
You can get really lost in the sounds on this album, lots of experimentation and gorgeous melodies.
Away - Okkervial River
Packed full of excellent tunes charting the story of the life of a musician.
You And I - Jeff Buckley
More tragic demos from Jeff showing what an amazing talented beautiful guy he was, this gives a picture into the process of getting his songs down, there's some conversation too, which is really nice. I love the Smith's covers, the only person I will accept a smith cover from.
Chaleur Humaine - Christine and the Queens
I wasn't sure what to make of this band when I first saw her on Jools holland, but there was someting about it that I found a little irresistable. A couple of weeks later when Christine was on Graham Norton show, she did a great interview, very likeable like the music, anything featuring Perfume Genius is worth a listen too.
Lisa has a gorgeous voice and she really lets it out on this album, some really excellent tunes which will make you rethink your opinions of her.
Lift To Experience - An Epic journey by ferry to Holyhead and then across Wales and England by car and we made it on time thanks to Caroline's nifty work with google maps and by passing a traffic jam, it does work.
Great being able to soak up that big city feeling in the barbican, London was buzzing and Lift to Experience weren't quite sure what they were doing there, but recreated the amazing tunes of that amazing album,
nice to see one more time.
Julia Holter @ Button Factory - Super band backing up Julia and her experimental approach to the live show.
Kate Tempest @ Whelans - we were treated to the whole album, very respectful crowd so not a peep during quiet bits, which I love, sometimes Dublin audiences can do this.
Richmond Fontain @ Kilkenny Rythym and Roots/Whelans - the final farewell tour, great to hear the dark
Low @ Christ Church - this was a spiritual experience, first part christmas concert second part best of most recent Low albums, it was made all the more special by the location, best sound at a gig this year.
Bell X1 @ Iveagh Gardens - Honor's first gig, great venue for a show and the weather held up for us.
Beatyear @ Dun Laoghaire - brought the two girls to this family friendly festival, we had a great day, I'd recommend it.
Fernando Viciconte @ Billy Byrnes, Kilenny Rythym and Roots. Never heard of this guy, but he had some great tunes, backed up by members of Richmond Fontaine
Nick Kelly @ Whelans - great to see my now neighbour nick play some classics from The Fat Lady Sings, Arclight was that quintessential college song.
Rusnago Family @ Speigel tent Merrion Sq. - Really cool venue, great seeing these guys in action, they had everyone dancing by the end, which was an achievement as it was a Sunday night show.
Max Richter @ NCH - Max played sleep not all 8 hours of it but 90 mins without a break, brilliant to see, but there were a few moments where the eyelids were starting to get heavy.
Girl Band @ Vicar St. - Glad we had seats for this one, some old school moshing going on down below, I wouldn't have been able for it. It was a noisefest, we a bit of melody mixed in, a 21st century MBV.
Peter Sagan after a lot of second places, a stylish and memorable victory in the Tour of Flanders a nonchalant, yet decisive retention of the WC rainbow jersey in Doha ...and an instinctive bunny hop over a crash pile up on the cobbles of Paris Roubaix
Ireland v Austria - a performance giving some hope rather than hair tearing despair.
Olympics The attitude and spirit of Thomas Barr (unlucky not to medal) and similarly the O'D bros.
Premiership - Leicester winning - great to see a change from the old guard for once and for all !
Phoenix Park Duathlon Series : May 4th Competitive high level series of 3 duathlons first Weds of every month - good practice for tri season.
Dublin Staff Relay : May 19th 25k 5x5. Found some work colleagues who wanted to compete rather than participate and finished top 20 out of 500+ teams.
Tri Athy : Jun 4th. Well organised & catering for all levels. Beginner to Double Olympic. I went for the sprint tri. A very hot & humid day made the run section in particular seem like trudging through a trough of treacle
Tri the Hook : Aug 20th Very scenic Wexford setting. A "tough but fair" Sprint Tri course. Chilled out around Hook Head lighthouse afterwards.
Great Dublin Bike Ride : Sep 11th Well organised 100k sportiv around North Dublin discovering new parts of the county.
Great Fjord Swim : Oct 1st Killary Harbour blessed with weather, tide and wind in right direction, it led to an enjoyably fast 2k swim. Hostel accommodation was perfect too very near the finish line.
Beaujolais Half Marathon: Nov 19th Fillet steak, cheese, bread, pate and fine wine...at the feeding stations. Vive la difference!
Gear 'n' Gadgets
Foakley Jawbreakers For 10% of the price these "Faux Oakley" (Foakleys) cycling glasses are pretty much indistinguishable in terms of packaging, quality and appearance from the "real&" ones, which in all likelihood come off the same factory line. Earlier in the year I forked quite out a lot for this authentic pair. The Foakleys are just as good.
Stages Powermeter Still getting used to this as a training aid and pacing/ metric tool to improve cycling. Pricey kit, but got one for a good price off ebay.
Zwift : Much prefer cycling outdoors, but this takes things to into a bizarre new zone. Used it a few times - cycling against people from all over the globe in real time on your TV / iPhone, etc
Relive.cc very nice free tool that automatically transforms bike rides recorded on Strava over 20k into 3d terrain movies with speed, power, hr data and any photos taken plotted along the way
Bike Lights from China Another great buy off AliExpress exposing corporate profiteering. Great quality gear for 15%-20% of normal price.
Vivoactive HR - as Intel recalled and discontinued the Basis Peak smartwatch due to 1 in 500 chance of getting a bit of a burn, I used my full refund to get this. For HR and sleep etc there's no matching the Peak, but this is decent and integrates well with Strava, Runkeeper, etc and the ability to track swimming also is pretty good.
Ultimate Laces - for a couple of quid no more tying or laces coming undone ever again. Should've gotten these sooner!
Noel Gallagher Lana Del Ray - only saw some of the performance but unexpectedly sticks in the memory because the rain complemented the set. New Order Super Furry Animals Broken Social Scene Cathy Davey These Charming Men Toots & The Maytails
Sultans of Ping - Whelan's, Dec 10th The annual rendezvous
Exceptionally quiet year for gigs for me, due to other stuff popping up at same time gigs were on. Thankfully toutless.com generally always came to the rescue for offloading tickets bought.
Having a surgically planned travel route from work-Dublin Airport-Stanstead-Liverpool St-Barbican Centre,Ryanair did their best...to throw a big greasy spanner in the works with a 90 minute flight delay.It threatened to scupper a meeting with a guitar hero whom I'd often seen but waited decades to actually meet. Luckily I caught the second half of the talk and got to meet and have a few words with him afterwards, which was cool. Listened to the audiobook which was dynamic and engaging.
What would Christmas be without the Top Ten? OK, here we go...
David Bowie - Blackstar. Nothing else came even close this year - what a way to sign off from this world. There’s a whole new generation of Bowie fans in our house this year on the back of Blackstar and working through the back catalogue
Radiohead - A moon shaped pool. Slow burner, and the opening track is nothing like what follows. Simply gorgeous tunes
Underworld - Barbara, Barbara, we face an uncertain future. There’s more to Underworld than Born Slippy, why haven’t I listened to them before? A great collection of songs and beats
Tom Odell - Wrong Crowd. Undoubtedly the family favourite this year, with the title track in particular getting an awful lot of spins on camping trips. In a word: sunny
The Avalanches - Wildflower. 16 years to release album number two. Sounds much like the first one, in a good way, and worth waiting for
Glass Animals - How to be a human being. Great follow-up to their debut, and a brilliant, energetic performance at Electric Picnic
James Blake - The colour in anything. He just keeps churning out great albums. The formula hasn’t changed much, showcasing his amazing voice. Also saw live in the Olympia, really impressive
Michael Kiwanaku - Love and Hate. Old school soul, gorgeous tunes
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree. Dark, stark, deep, gorgeous, tragic
Jason Isbell - Something more than free. Highly evocative lyrics, beautiful melodies, this is country music at its best
Best of the rest in no particular order
St. Paul and the Broken Bones - Sea of noise
The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything you've come to expect
A slow start to the year, peaking at Electric Picnic which was epic as usual, and a nice few gigs to close out 2016
EP was a feast of music. My highlights kind of in order:
Broken Social Scene
Frank & Walters
Super Furry Animals
Augustus and John
Other highlights: the sun; the rain; the mud; the smell of the mud; Richard Ford interview; eco camping; great food; the elephant gummy bear light; hanging with Tom; the “Trump: finally someone with balls” caravan; finding Tom’s glasses in Body n Soul; LCD sound check on Saturday morning; many random chats and encounters - and much more. 10/10
Primal Scream - Olympia. Great to finally see them live. Started with Movin’ on Up, peaked with Loaded which was truly epic, they really put on a great show
Bon Iver - Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA. Lucky to scalp a ticket to this one outside the theatre, which was the nicest venue I’ve ever been to. The show was damned fine too, and his new album stood up well
James Blake - Olympia. What a voice, spine-tingling. His band played everything live on the night, impressive
Robert Forster - Whelans. Fantastic show, great performer, nice banter, and sharp dresser to boot
Grant Lee Philips - Whelans. Solo performance, just him and a guitar. He rocked it
Low - Christchurch Cathedral. Disappointing seats, but the venue was amazing, and they really put on a good show
First triathlon. I finished the Olympic TriAthy in June, on an absolute scorcher. Delirah with myself
Glendalough swim. 1.5k in the upper lake in September. Perfect in every respect
Killary swim. 2k in Killary Fjord in October with friends. What a brilliant event and fantastic weekend away with a great gang of kids old and young
Boarding trip to Austria with the family - first time all 5 of us were on the slopes together. So much fun
Wales MTB trip - why change a winning formula?
Bray Cliff Run with Tom in Apr. Brutal day, great fun
Open water swims: Wicklow, Dunmore East, and finally got to Lough Hyne - what a beautiful place to swim. Great to get out to the island (and back!) with Tom
BANFF Mountain Film Festival - my highlight of the year, and looking forward to 2017 already. Great new venue in the National Concert Hall too
The Killing (series 1)
The Bridge (series 3)
House of Cards (series 2 and 3)
Making a Murderer
Fargo (series 1)
Homeland (series 5)
The Fall (series 3)
War and Peace
Only one classic this year, and the usual mix of fiction and non-fiction
Don Quixote - Cervantes. Epic in every sense of the word
Shakey - Jimmy McDonough. Neil Young’s biography, warts and all. What an incredible character he is, a force of nature. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this
Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink - Elvis Costello. Sprawling autobiography, but I couldn’t put this down, a real pager turner
Gertrude Bell Queen of the Desert - Georgina Howell. Everyone’s heard of Lawrence of Arabia, but who’s heard of Gertrude Bell? What an amazing life, well told
A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson. Finally got around to this, and chuckled a lot
The Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson. Bill Bryson’s teenage years - you can probably imagine
At Swim - Brendan Mac Evilly. An open water swimming tour of Ireland. Lots more places I need to check out now
The Rise of Superman - Steven Cotler. Fascinating insight into how people do impossible things and push the boundaries of risk
Mud, Sweat and Tears - Bear Grylls. Light enough, but he’s a pretty interesting character and this is a decent insight into his life
Wild - Cheryl Strayed. Really enjoyable true life story behind the movie
The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert. Follow up to Eat, Pray, Love (which I assume is fairly shit), this was a fantastic read, and really original
Independence Day - Richard Ford. Pulitzer Prize winner
When God Was a Rabbit - Sarah Winman. Lovely novel. We also attended one of her readings, and had a nice chat in the pub afterwards. Really nice lady
The Beginners Goodbye - Anne Tyler
The Sports Lounge on whatsapp - rants, banter, craic, slagging, opinions, more opinions. Sometimes we even talked about sport
Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf - The Gate. Powerful stuff, we felt a bit beaten up after this one. Time for a G&T
Have a great Xmas and New Year folks. Over and out
As usual I listened to a lot of random stuff as it took my fancy this year, but I did seem to get drawn towards some awesome psychedelic stoner rock, and also massively towards old soul, like Bill Withers, Roberta Flack, Terry Callier, and so on.
I make no excuses for my list being a little out of touch, its just what has been on my turntable and headphones throughout 2016.
So, without further ado, here are the albums that floated my boat this year:
The Interrupters - Say It Out Loud (Undoubtedly my most played LP of the year)
Radio Moscow - Brain Cycles / Magical Dirt (Couldn't decide which Radio Moscow LP to go for. I'd never heard of them until I stumbled on them. They are awesome!
Fu Manchu - The Action Is GO! (Similar to above... had heard them, but just totally re-discovered them this year and went for them big time)
Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond (Think Led Zeppelin that you've never heard)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Soundtrack (Great, great soundtrack. Easy to watch film)
Baroness - Purple (A grower)
Refused - Freedom (Nice return from the Scandy punkers)
Savages - Adore Life (Tried to ignore this because it was on the cool lists, but its grown on me)
Lack Of Afro - Hello Baby (Nice slice of Funk)
Bill Withers - Just As I Am (Bill is just the man. His voice melts butter and varnishes your table)
Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
Fat Freddys Drop - Bays
Brian Fallon - Painkillers
Dead Pirates - Highmare
Metallica - Hardwired To Self Destruct
Terry Callier - What Color Is Love
Teenage Bottlerocket - Tales From Wyoming
Quite a good year for films, but I have to say that I'm not as good of keeping track of what I watch as I am of what I listen to, so there are probably some amazing films that I have just overlooked. Nevertheless, here are the films that have made my list this year;
The Big Short
The Nice Guys
Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Straight Outta Compton
I also loved the Oasis doco 'Supersonic', and TV wise, myself and Jo smashed through all 8 seasons of 'That 70s Show' I couldn't believe I had never seen it. Easy to watch with a glass of wine without having to think too hard!
'Remix' by John Courtenay Grimwood (Probably my book of the year... picked up randomly in a charity shop as all my favourite books seem to be.
Going Gently - David Nobbs (The other contender for my book of the year... also a charity shop find)
1984 - George Orwell (Believe it or not, my first time reading this... frightening how relevant it is)
In My Skin: A Memoir of Addiction - Kate Holden (Strangely compelling)
A Brief Story Of Seven Killings - Marlon James
Invasion of the Bastard Cannibals: And Other True Stories from a Southerner Beyond the Mason-Dixon - Nathan Weathington (The second book written by our mate Nathan. If you haven't read his first book ‘Where The Hell Were Your Parents?' then its worth a read. Just easy, filthy fun.
AC-DC - Perth (Pre-Axl shenanigans, so still with Brian Johnson at the helm... surprisingly good. I got bought tickets by a mate whilst I was passing through)
Fat Freddys Drop - Queenstown (Fat Freddys are the bomb... if you get chance to see them then go... and take the kids...)
Not really seen much else I'm afraid... my life doesn't lend itself to long term planning, and so I usually buy tickets then can't go... or else don't buy tickets.
Once again... full PROPS to Tom for keeping this going all these years. I love doing it, and I love seeing how out of touch with everyone else's taste I am!
2016 was and will always be the biggest badest motherfucker year of all, ever. Kitty and Ellie rocked into our lives and blew our minds (thanks girls - and thanks Orla) and we moved into our new build house. 2013 - 2016 was a rollercoaster of epic proportions and it all came together on April 16th and most importantly April 19th. The craziness of the previous few years made everything all the more sweeter ;-) And it just gets better and better. Would I do it again ? You bet your arse I would.
I won’t dwell too much on the 2016 demise of the great artists who have enhanced our lives throughout the years - suffice to say it allowed me to revisit back catalogues of Bowie, Prince, Cohen. I even revisited some ELP !
Farewell to TXFM - hadn’t been with us too long (since the take over of Phantom) but it played some of the best music around. Drove the car randomly around North Wicklow so I could drive and listen to the final hour - respect to the DJ’s and station crew.
But hello to DubFM (Dublin City Council traffic radio) - top tunes sandwiched between traffic updates…totally eclectic and not Commercial
And hello 8Radio - consistently brilliant music with no Commercial breaks. Best station by a musical mile !
Lots of music consumed as I wash, tidy and feed things. Also, you can’t expose your kids to good music too early - get em when they're young.
Karl Blau - 'Introducing Karl Blau'…. came across it on 8Radio and love his Contry re-interpretation. Gigging in Whleans Feb 17 so hopefully will be there.
Lusine - 'The waiting room'. Perfect at work headphones music.
De La Soul - 'and the Anonymous Nobody'. Back to basics hip-hop with cross overs.
Teleman - 'Brilliant Sanity'. Nice indie slightly tuneless vibe.
Raf Rundell - Just starting into this but so far lovely melodies and nicely chosen covers
Chemical Brothers - 'Born in the Echoes'. From last year but only checked it out this year. Love the last track Wide Open (listening to it as I type actually !)
Misc top and surpassingly good tunes including
Coy and Edu Imbernon - 'El Baile Aleman'
Makeness & Adult Jazz - 'Other Life'
Santigold - 'Lights Out'
Yancey Stomp' by Jammy Yancey and 'The Affectionate' by The Associates. Both donkeys years old but came across them this year and both immediately in my all time top 50
Again , not much this year but...
A serendipitous gig @ the Harbour Bar in Bray with my sister where we stumbled across Moonlookson - one of the best "I wasn’t expecting that’" gigs I've ever, eh, not expected.
Low in Christchurch Cathedral with Dave Mc, Richenda, Orla and Hazel. Seats weren't great but I enjoyed been in such a cool place listening to music I like.
Primal Scream at the Olympia with Dave Mc, Peter C, Christian, Foxy. They blew the roof off ! Pity about the assholes behind us but didn’t impact too much. Crowd sining "I don’t wanna lose your love” with the lights on and the band grooving and watching and listening had to be the highlight !
King Kong Company @ The Academy in March…top tunes but I really should have gone home after the gig……;-)
Didn’t get to the cinema once this year.
Enjoying Dirk Gently on Netflix right now - hard to emulate the book but the cast and writers have done a fine good job trying. Love the guy playing Dirk…
Westworld - not through it yet and at times I've thought its tried too hard from the off….but I think its a long play so going to stick with it…more in next years update
The Night Of - great show. Full of good characters, trepidation and intrigue. Torturrro at his very very best
That's it - well as much as I can get down in the helter skelter of the closing days of a fuck-ya ! 2016
Over and out.
Anyway can I even remember what I read/ watched etc in 2016? Our spotify has been hijacked by the kids.
I had the good fortune to see Damien dempsey at kilcrohane church during the summer..absolutely spine tingling, and badly drawn boy at St Lukes this Christmas..gorgeous..best Christmas present ever..
...currently reading Bruce Springsteen..engrossed, I think you might like the Lizzy Hawker book ' Runner' about the UTMB..read it again in Chamonix this summer..now that was a travel high light, also Chris macdougals new book..natural born heroes..good old read...there must be more!
Joe and I devoured The Bridge, The Killing, House of Cards and are now on to season 4 of Game of Thrones...the mother of them all!
Another eventful year, some great music, not enough gigs, great to see old friends visiting London and getting in plenty of quality time back in Ireland. My first triathlon, sea swimming in Mayo, lake swimming in Athlone and climbing down on Swanage sea cliffs with Tom. Finishing off the year's events with Nessa and friends doing the Beaujolais wine half marathon was a big highlight. And Lily starting school, omg.....Good times indeed.
Top albums in a vague order. Once again a big thank you to Tom - here goes
Bon Iver – 22, A Million
Superb third album, experimental but beautiful, repays every listen with some new insight into this guys deep genius
Here is a taster of mainly first songs off each album
Gigs of the year
GoGo Penguin - at The Sugar Club, Dublin
Mogwai - at The Barbican, London
Marlon James epic masterpiece centres on Jamacian gangs, drugs and the shooting of Bob Marley
A brief history of seven killings by Marlon James
I decided a year ago that I would make use of all the swimming I was doing and focus on a half-Ironman. I started commuting by bike again, and got in a lot of running sessions during lunch breaks. I customised an old school road bike and started riding in the the local North Downs, south of London. In September I did my first triathlon, the Sussex half-Ironman, 6 hours and 6 mins and I must say I enjoyed every minute of it. Proof that you can put the fabled London commute to good use. In 2017 I am planning a full Ironman, fingers crossed. And the Beajolais Wine Marathon of course (and 4 bottles of wine this time!!! :)
Sussex Middle distance triathlon - Ashburnham Place, September 2016
The Great Fjord 2km swim - Killary, October 2016
Beaujolais wine half marathon (while consuming 2 bottles of wine :) - Villefranche, November 2016
Veep – Man, I loved The Thick of It, was at an All Tomorrow’s Parties, wallowing hungover in our chalet, and the organizers/curating artists played all of the first two seasons on DVD over the Butlins TV system – what a hangover cure, I was totally hooked!
Watched the first 2 seasons of Veep when they first came out and then tailed off on it for whatever reason, this year I decided to catch up….holy cow! It’s a much more Americanized comedy, obviously, but still a killer look at what happens backstage at the White House, and in the context of Hillary Clinton’s run this year it just gets more and more relevant and prescient as you get up to this year’s series….god knows where they go with it next year! Solid gold Armando Ianucci, catch up with it if you have the inclination, you won’t notice the episodes tick by… (when I was all caught up I went back and watched The Thick of It again, also a recommended activity)
Mogwai – Atomic live soundtracked screening at the Barbican – No gigs this year because baby, but my lady got us tickets to this amazing sold-out Mogwai gig for my 40th. The she couldn’t come because bay, so I took Martino as my date – what a show! The soundtrack is awesome, stands up as a ‘real’ Mogwai album, and they smashed it out for the screening, what a powerful drum sound! The doc itself is great, very Adam Curtis, well worth a watch!
Stars of The Lid, Barbican – As above, no gigs this year because baby, but I got tickets for this rare gig by incredible post-rock ambient pioneers Stars of the Lid…great live show with additional string section and guy twiddling nobs on a huge lump of technology – they played a bunch of pieces from the only album that I’m familiar with (so far!), the epic two hour plus The Tired Sounds of Stars of the Lid – link below, check it out, so mellow!
Salad Days - A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90) - The US 80s-90s punk scene is probably my favourite scene ever, particularly in DC and California (Fugazi, Black Flag, Minutemen, Bad Brains, Bikini Kill etc) so I wa really chuffed to see this great documentary on the DC scene. Lot’s of archive, lots of good talking heads and history, lots of Ian McKaye, lots of awesome viewing! I have a DVD and T-shirt waiting for me in work’s US office, but in the meantime you can check it out through this handy Youtube playlist:
Cursed III: Architects of Troubled Sleep - This is some horrific filthy nihilistic hardcore punk form Canada, which is probably not o everybody’s taste. First released in 2008 and reissued this year, I was lucky enough to see them playing in Camden on their final tour – they got ripped off later in the tour in Germany, losing all their passports, money etc, and broke up.
The album is really heavy, and alternates fast and slow, but while this was about all that grabbed me in 2008 it’s amazing how much more to it there was when listening closely again eight years later – the textures, thoughts, imagery, the additional dimensions to what so many bands do in a mere two…excellent stuff. And also, absolute audio filth, enjoy! (or not)
The Besnard Lakes - A Coliseum Complex Museum – Awesome new album from Besnard Lakes, bit chill compared to the more driving rock of previous albums but that’s ok, exceptional dreamy pop rock with impeccable taste in guitar tones…
St. Paul and The Broken Bones – Sea of Noise – Hadn’t heard this Alabama six-piece soul band until this year, wow….their singer can SING, the rhythm section is rock-solid, and the horns are like POW…definitely channeling some Otis Redding on this album, fast swinging attacks mix in with soulful introspective numbers….hell of an album! Here’s one of the singles, definitely worth progressing on to the full album..:
Hot Mass – Nervous Tensions – This is an excellent energetic pop punk band from my home town Swansea, the bass player is a friend of mine, and I was blown away by how good the album is… Song number 6 Repeat is a standout, there is some ltd edition vinyl but you can stream the whole catchy energetic…MASS on Bandcamp:
K is for Kyuss – In the last few years I’ve really been struck by how difficult it is to process the sheer volume of music that washes over me through the internet – so many streaming services, so many previewing tracks put about by so many websites, it’s awesome and yet ridiculous – I must have tens of hundreds of thousands of albums saved into Spotify alone by now, and then there’s records, all the saved digital format music that I have…and when a band that I actually love brings out a new release and I buy it, I reckon I play it for a week max before I have to move onto the next thing(s) and it just gets filed away on my hard drive and/or shelves…
So, alphabet project. All the music I care enough to get a copy of rather than just stream ends up on my phone memory these days for headphones listening whenever time is for myself (RIP iPOd), and so I just went back to A at around the start of this year and started working my way through alphabetically, spending at least a few days with each album that I come to. At the moment I’m at K, and after revisiting all 3 discs of Kamasi Washington’s The Epic I have just spent about 2 weeks listening to Kyuss constantly, whether I’m cycling to work, cooking, whatever.
It’s oddly rewarding, pushes you out of the comfort zone of the music. Genre, artist, album that you would USUALLY listen to in a particular context, and its amazing how years can pass between plays of your favourite albums…anyway, K is (currently|) for Kyuss.
Seu Jorge - The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions – Aaaagh, running out of time and I’m already late…love this album and revisited heavily this year after poor old David Bowie passed away. It’s from the film The Life Aquatic that came out forever ago, which featured Portuguese musician Seu Jorge as a crewmember on Bill Murray’s boat who never spoke but ws constantly playing acoustic Bowie covers in Portuguese in the background. Bowie apparently loved the covers, and Jorge recorded a mass of them for the film, although only a handful made it to screen and soundtrack.
Beautiful stuff, well worth getting acquainted with.
Melvins reissues – Stoner Witch and Houdini – Jack White’s record label brought out vinyl reissues of 3 classic early/mid-90s albums by grunge/rock/noise/punk/heavy guitar ban The Melvins late last year – Stoner Witch, Houdini, and Stag. I managed to get my hands on the first two and they are lush, and sound fantastic – Houdini was the first one to come out post-Nirvana Nevermind and the band got signed to a major label on the strength of their ties with Nirvana – Cobain was one of the albums co-producers…anyway, they are legendary fi you like that sort of thing, totally out of time here, links below….until 2017!